Why Are There Paleo Desserts?
When I first started Paleo, I was very against Paleo desserts.
Cavemen clearly didn’t eat almond flour baked with honey, so why should I be eating that?
Of course, at the same time, I would occasionally fall off the wagon and cheat with some M&Ms from the vending machine, a cookie from Starbucks down the street, or a guilty slice of cake that my secretary made. And when my birthday rolled around, I would indulge in some red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting (my fav!).
As my Paleo journey progressed and as I started hearing from more and more people about their own Paleo journeys, my views on Paleo desserts evolved.
Why Are There Paleo Desserts?
In my opinion, Paleo desserts and treats play 2 huge roles in the Paleo diet and lifestyle, which are explained below. Please don’t take this as an excuse to plaster your face with sweets and desserts just because they’re gluten-free or grain-free or home-made!
Plus a disclaimer – after my views on Paleo desserts evolved, I authored a Paleo desserts cookbook, so I want to let you know that I may be biased on this topic (in case you want to judge me for writing this article)!
So here are the 2 reasons:
1. As a way of easing into a Paleo diet.
I know some people say starting a Paleo diet is easy, but that’s not the case for everyone.
Giving up everything you’re used to eating (pasta, bread, cakes, cookies, Starbucks lattes, etc.) is a huge shift for many people. It was a huge shift for me!
For many people, if you tell them that you just need to eat meat and veggies and never touch pasta or cookies or cake again, then they will never start a Paleo diet. They’re simply not ready to make such a huge leap. But that doesn’t mean they’re not ready to make a small jump in the right direction.
And if knowing that they can make some eggplant lasagna with Paleo cookies for dessert helps them give up wheat, seed oils, and processed sugars, then heck, that seems like a step in the right direction to me!
You’re all on this website because you want to lose weight, heal your bodies, or live a healthier lifestyle. If the beginning of that journey involves some Paleo desserts, then I am certainly not one to judge you!
2. As an alternative to regular desserts when you’re really tempted.
I’ve heard from some people who tell me that giving up all desserts and all sugary foods without a second thought was easy for them. My reaction has always been this: my eyes widen, my jaw falls down, and I start wishing it was that easy for me!
It’s not so bad when I’m at home surrounded by Paleo foods, but when I’m out with friends or when I used to work in an office, it was seriously painful! Especially around 3 or 4pm when the boredom, exhaustion, and stress really kicks in.
I used to wish the stores would sell some Paleo desserts so that I wouldn’t have to succumb and buy some gluten and corn-syrup filled regular dessert!
Maybe the difference to your health (if you’re not that sick) isn’t huge if you eat the regular dessert just once, but it still makes a huge difference to your mental state.
Whenever I strayed and ate a slice of regular cake or a pack of M&Ms, I would feel like I had let myself down. Like here was something so simple, so easy, and yet I couldn’t do it. It was just another confirmation of something I already felt – I’m a failure.
Seriously… that’s not a rabbit hole you want to go down!
And I really believe that Paleo desserts can help in this. Even if it’s not that healthy, it’s still better than regular desserts! So if you’re going to eat a dessert anyway, you might as well indulge in a less processed and less toxic one!
Over Time, Start Cutting Down On Paleo Desserts
Having said all the above, I’m not a fan of eating Paleo desserts forever – I don’t believe they should be part of an ideal diet or lifestyle.
For me, cutting out desserts took time.
First, I started realizing how much worse I felt even when I ate Paleo desserts. The extra sugar would make me feel more lethargic, and often the excess of almond flour and coconut flour would make me feel a bit constipated. Both were feelings I started to associate with eating Paleo desserts, which made me naturally want them less and less often.
Second, I started to realize that I wanted to eat healthier because I cared about how I felt mentally and physically, and I cared about my own quality of life. That’s when I started wanting to eat healthy foods rather than thinking I had to in order to lose weight or cure an illness. I didn’t just want to not feel crappy, I wanted to feel great!
This meant that I didn’t have to fight a mental battle of “should I or should I not have this Paleo cookie tonight” every single night.
If you’re someone who has no trouble forgoing all desserts, Paleo or otherwise, then fantastic! I’m very envious of you! But try to remember that not everyone has your up-bringing, taste-buds, and personality – you know, all the things that make you YOU. Many other people don’t find it that easy, and it’s not just because they’re weak-minded!
If you’re someone who has a lot of trouble giving up desserts and sticking to a Paleo diet, then try to switch your regular desserts to Paleo desserts, and over time start cutting down on Paleo desserts as well. And if you slip up, forgive yourself and keep going. You’re already doing better than so many other people just by trying!